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Oregon's first omicron-variant cases of COVID-19 detected in Multnomah, Washington counties

Three cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been detected in Oregon, according to Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced on Monday that three cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been detected in Oregon.

The first three cases were detected in Washington and Multnomah Counties. OHA released the following information about the three positive patients:

  • A Multnomah County resident in their 20s, tested on Dec. 7, who was fully vaccinated. The individual traveled internationally to Canada prior to symptom onset. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available.
  • A Washington County resident in their 20s, tested on Dec. 9, who was fully vaccinated. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available.
  • A Washington County resident in their 30s, tested on Dec. 9, who was fully vaccinated. The individual traveled internationally to Mexico prior to symptom onset. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available.

Health officials have said since omicron was first detected in the United States that it was only a matter of when omicron would make it to Oregon, not if.

“We recognize this news is concerning to many people. However, if history is our guide, we do know that even if a vaccine doesn’t target a specific variant, the strong immune response you get from being fully vaccinated can still be highly protective against severe disease from all COVID-19 variants,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA.

Sidelinger said OHA and lab partners will continue to monitor how omicron spreads through Oregon.

"It was only a matter of time before we identified the first case of the omicron variant in Oregon," said Gov. Kate Brown. "As we continue to learn more about this new variant, we know the measures that are most effective in helping to keep ourselves and our families safe from Omicron, Delta, and other COVID-19 variants: get vaccinated, get your booster and wear a mask. That's the key to saving lives and keeping our businesses, schools, and communities open. If you aren't yet vaccinated or need a booster dose, get an appointment or find a walk-in vaccine clinic in your area today."

In Washington, omicron was identified in three separate people in three separate counties. The Washington State Department of Health announced on Dec. 4. The patients were:

  • A man in his 30s from Thurston County
  • A man in his 20s from Pierce County
  • A woman in her 20s from King County

“We knew that it was a matter of time before omicron was sequenced in our state and so we were anticipating this very news,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the Washington State Secretary of Health. “We strongly urge people to get vaccinated and get their boosters as soon as possible to maximize their level of protection from any variant.”

Omicron has been detected in more than 30 states and Washington D.C. Health officials are still studying the effects of the variant to determine the severity of its symptoms.

RELATED: Pfizer says early data shows COVID booster appears to offer omicron protection